I Used To Sing.
Before I seriously considered being an artist, cartoonist or novelist, I wanted to be a singer. Not only did I want to be a singer, I wanted to sing Symphonic Rock or Ballads and even old-style Linkin Park/Evanescence-style music. I wanted this dream so badly, I made sure I attended every music class I could.
I was absolutely successful in the school choirs I participated in. From seventh grade’s beginning course to eighth grade’s ‘Honor Choir’ to the Tempe District Honor Choir. All I gained was a personal confidence —- the medals and awards mattered little. Even as I dealt with my personal issues, I could set that aside because I knew I had a skill.
On a break from singing, I took guitar in my Freshman year of High School. Of course, I had to start fresh, and I wanted to add another instrument to my resume of musical attributes. I plucked strings throughout the year —- not just guitar strings. Somehow, I managed to feel like a bother to the other students (mostly men) in the class because of my presence alone, so I kept to myself.
For our class final, we had to cover a song. I covered Staind’s ‘It’s Been A While.’ Not only did I feel this represented my emotional state, but this was a song directly connected to my estranged father. I decided to sing the lyrics as well —- but I shut myself up in the middle of the song because I broke into tears. I finished the song on the guitar and then turned my back to my class. I did not want them to see me after that.
I passed. Yes, I passed, but I still felt like a failure because I did not do enough.
The next year, I switched back from guitar to choir.
I might have been in the beginning section but I proved to be a bit of an “advanced-staged” rebel. When the higher-ups would sing songs that I would know, I would join as an Alto or Soprano. Of course, this angered the teacher, but he never found out it was me. I tried to get more involved, but the others were socially better than me. Just because they could talk about boys and girls and everything that has to do with material life, I was left looking at the piano I was not allowed to play.
When I did get recognition —- Rookie of the Year —- I could not speak because I felt I did not do anything to deserve it besides sing.
The next year was a little better. I felt I had the teacher’s approval and that was all I needed. I thrived a little more than usual, and I was reminded of the success in middle school —- even with the naysayers.
Of course, the other students believed others were way better because they were more ‘in.’ So, I still kept to myself and did what I have to do.
Senior year —- the year after the choir basically disbanded due to the teacher’s departure —- I would try to get some singing in. I would occasionally get upset if someone else sang and everyone flocked to them, but I had a goal —- to sing the Star Spangled Banner in front of my peers.
In late November of 2010, I got that chance. This would be in front of everyone —- including the teachers and naysayers. I just wanted to make a certain teacher proud. I told her this many times.
I thought I had belted out my best rendition. I was given high-fives, nods and smiles.
Then, I went to her.
She told me, “It was —- okay,” with a shrug and shaking her head in a ‘Hell No,’ type of way. Shocked and shattered, I cried and left the room. Needless to say, I did not go to her class. The one teacher I wanted to sing for did not appreciate what I had done for her. She did the same when I tried the Cafeteria job. She also did the same for my art projects after the whole singing bit.
After that day, I decided to put down the microphone. I could not make someone happy. Her answer, to me, meant I should regret even opening my mouth. I still have trouble speaking, because I feel my words will not matter.
I want to pick up the microphone again. Next time, I want to do it for me, and not for someone who will not appreciate my efforts.